- Paperback: 350 pages
- Publisher: Bath Publishing Ltd; 1st (revised March 2013) edition (15 May 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0956777406
- ISBN-13: 978-0956777409
- Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2 x 23.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 667,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Family Courts without a Lawyer: A Handbook for Litigants in Person (Revised 1st Edition: March 2013) Paperback – 15 May 2011
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With the government about to announce its final cost-cutting plans for legal aid there is clearly a market for self-help books aimed at people who need access to justice, but can't afford professional help. Into the fray comes Lucy Reed, barrister and author of the Pink Tape blog, waving her new handbook for DIY litigants: Family Courts without a Lawyer. 'Litigants in person clog up the courts', she says, 'Slow courts mean delay for children and parents and injustice for families. Helping litigants in person to get it right procedurally is doing everyone a favour.' This book is a response to the proposals to withdraw legal aid for many family cases and while she doesn't dismiss the problems this will cause, she believes that litigants who represent themselves need not be at a significant disadvantage if they have the right information. The handbook is not aimed at any particular section of the population: 'The cab rank rule (the rule which says barristers must not turn away clients who want to instruct them) means that as a barrister I represent mums, dads, partners and kids in pretty much equal measure,' she says. 'Some are wholly reasonable and well intentioned, some are malicious, and some are just idiotic. I don't see any of those characteristics as exclusive to men or to women.' This is not a legal textbook (though lawyers may find it useful) nor is it a substitute for legal advice: 'I've had to strike a balance between being clear and precise about what the law says and providing too much detail which can be confusing and can make matters worse,' says Reed. 'The book covers the things that litigants in person are most likely to come up against but it doesn't (and can't) cover all possible eventualities.' An accompanying website nofamilylawyer.co.uk, contains links to useful online resources and downloadable versions of the model documents included in the book. Reed manages to cover a good deal of ground in this fairly slim volume, which takes the court user from the starting block finding your way around the legal system - to the finishing line, whether that is divorce, financial arrangements for separating cohabitees, contact with children, or getting a non-molestation order in cases of domestic violence. The aim of the handbook is to make people who represent themselves feel more confident in court.'I often encounter litigants in person with a perfectly good case which they struggle to prepare or present, or who become distracted by points which are legally irrelevant,' says Reed. "Litigants in person who do not have even a basic grasp of the law may not be able to articulate the strengths in their case and may do damage to it by adopting the wrong approach." In the much-needed 'Reality Check' chapter Reed disposes of popular myths (there is no such thing as common law man and wife) and manages expectations telling readers: 'There is a lot in the media about the wives of very rich men walking away with vast fortunes on divorce. If you are reading this book you are probably not in their social circle and your own divorce will have a very different outcome.' She adds: 'For most families the court has to make a rough and ready estimation of what is in the pot and try to do its best to be fair to both parties, putting the needs of the kids first.' The straightforward style of this book, its tone of encouragement, and its plain English approach to family law including a 'jargon buster' section are among its strengths. Reed does not talk down to her readers she is with them every step of the way. --Siobhain Butterworth, The Guardian
About the Author
The author is Lucy Reed, an experienced family law barrister and mediator with St Johns Chambers in Bristol. She been writing Pink Tape, her award-winning, family law blog for many years (see www.pinktape.co.uk). The blog aims to be accessible to the common reader and its success, together with the feedback she receives while writing it, have inspired her to write this book.
Top Customer Reviews
There are forms that require you to fill in forms to submit those forms and it's just madness, really glad I got this book and it works, I got the courts to find the location of my nephew, put my brother on the birth certificate that he was tricked into believing he was already on, and apply a child arrangement order!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Amazing book that taught me more than the overpaid lawyers did so I could self represent in court. I've passed it on to someone who needs it now.Published on 4 Feb. 2015 by mum buyer
If you have a drama-seeking and high conflict ex, you may find yourself in the family division of the high court in which case this book will not be for you (it says as much in the... Read morePublished on 30 Dec. 2013 by Kell
This book is written in easy to understand language and so gives lots of practical, easy to follow advice. Great!Published on 11 Oct. 2013 by jane knights